It’s so easy to get stuck in criticism and negativity from the world around us. We get lost in media and the news, and our belief in people turns sour. We often roll our eyes at people’s mistakes, and we forget that we’re supposed to cheer each other on and not bring each other down. However, I get it. Giving words of affirmation and encouragement is hard, but here are some phrases we can use to get us started…
1.) “You're doing better than you think.”
I had a friend say this to me just as I was feeling like my life was resembling cracks racing through the ice. I could do nothing to stop the breaking and felt completely powerless. She gave me these words as she told her painful story of smashing her finger in her car door. But forget the comparison, forget the brokenness (both literally and figuratively), and forget the feeling of failure, because we really are doing better than we think. Tell someone who needs it and you might even start to believe it yourself.
2.) “You're enough.”
Let’s encourage one another to meet ourselves where we are at. Not where we are going to be in 6 months or after our goal is met, but right here, right now, today. We must embrace ourselves in the present. Self-love starts with understanding that we are enough. The worst parts, the best parts, the shameful parts, and proud parts. Let’s meet ourselves where we’re at and remind others, “You’re enough just as you are and always will be.”
3.) “Thank you.”
I have been working on my ability to say “thank you” to people rather than “sorry.” This reframe is difficult but I think it makes all the difference. For example, rather than saying,
“Sorry I was late. I was talking on the phone with my job.”
“Thank you for understanding that I needed to take that call from my job.”
Another example: “Thank you for listening,” rather than, “I’m sorry I was rambling on for so long.”
Once our “sorry” turns into “thank you,” our loved ones feel appreciated and a level of vulnerability is created.
4.) “Me too.”
We as humans need connection. It’s impossible to travel through life alone and feel connected. I have written and said several times, “The same way it is disheartening and desolate to celebrate alone it’s just as empty to mourn alone.”
We create defense mechanisms to prevent hurt and lose the chance to listen to one another and respond with the phrase: “me too.” I get it, life’s tough, heartbreak is real, and we often feel powerless. Sharing these truths and brokenness with your people allows your relationships to grow with trust and support. Rather than sympathetic nods and blanket statements let’s try to say, “Me too, I’ve been there.”
It’s so much easier for me to write these encouraging statements down rather than making eye contact and telling my friends face-to-face, but here’s a place that we can start together.